Fall Forward

The weather this fall has been up and down. I was Upstate in the Catskills this past weekend for a friend's birthday celebration that included a bonfire, games, hiking and beautiful fall foliage. Apparently it got cold here in NYC. Upstate it even snowed this past Sunday! However, the last two days the temps have been in the 70s. Bizarre right?! Then again, in is NYC. 

Anyway, I wanted to share some of my pictures from the much needed relaxing weekend in the Catskills. 

 First Sunrise 

 Tranquil cottage

Perfect weather

 Nearby creek

 View from the end of the hike


 Couldn't help it ;)

 Cotton candy sunrise

 Can't wait to return

 Little detour through Woodstock

Autumn Love

It's that time of year- the magical month of October and autumn! I probably haven't mentioned that it's my favorite season. I think it's in part due to the fact that I prefer cooler temperatures (I always feel like I'm complaining  sharing that I'm too warm). Oddly enough when I was growing up in Hawaii we didn't get the same feeling when the school year started. It was hot and the only thing it meant for me that my summer travels were over. Don't get me wrong, I loved the first day of school. It was SO exciting! New stationary, teachers and friends.

The moment that I really starting loving autumn was when I started college in Upstate New York. Upstate New York has a very long cold season and a brief Spring, Summer and Fall. However, when mid September came around the nights would get cool, the leaves would start to turn color and the sweaters or hoodies would become more visible on campus. There is one absolutely wonderful tree tree on the quad at my alma mater that I still think about every fall. As a close friend and classmate and I talked about this specific tree a couple weeks ago at a mutual friend's wedding, she used the term "perfect". If there was the perfect autumn tree it'd be this one. It turns the most vibrant hues of autumn that I still haven't seen in the time I've lived in Japan or in New York City. The interesting thing about leaves turning colors is that it's very dependent on temperature and moisture. A warm wet Spring, sunny summer days, warm fall days with cool nights produces the brightest fall colors. The last two autumns it seems I saw a lot more yellow and less orange and red. The shape of this tree and its location also added to its charm. It was a very round, full tree and I'm not even sure what type of tree it is but it was close to the Southeast corner of the quad near the science building. If you had a class in that building during the fall semester it was always best to try and convince the professor to have class outdoors just so you could appreciate this tree it all its glory.

Autumn in Japan there brings colors on the maples and gingko trees.  But for me the most amazing thing about fall there was the food. The Japanese are dedicated to eating seasonally and fall brings about oysters, sweet potatoes and rich and oily fish to name a few. Days are sunny and warm and the nights are crisp. The sides of the streams and rivers that are full of sakura (cherry) blossoms in the Spring change color. The desserts in department stores and bakeries change to apples, sweet potatoes and chestnuts. I highly suggest that, for foodie purposes, anyone traveling to Japan make the trip during the fall. You will not be disappointed.

Here in NYC, fashion becomes even more inspiring with the layered looks including boots, scarves and hats. The cooler nights are a refreshing change to the humidity of summer. You no longer need to worry about sweating (mostly) and there's just something about the light during the day that changes and inspires me. Although I'm no longer a student I still find it motivating (remember I do better when its cooler) to write down my goals. The trickiest thing for me is that because I'm always warm, if we were talking about Ayurveda they'd say I have have a lot of fire energy in me. So layering is key but no matter how hard I try I can't bundle up cute like most women of NYC during the fall but I just get too overwhelmed. And then the time I actually feel cold enough it's basically winter weather... An extra fun thing about September and October is that it's fashion week. Beginning with NYC and ending with Paris.

I'm not as big on pumpkin flavors unless it's Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) soup or tempura or pie so Starbucks can't lure me. Also, I only go to Starbucks when there's absolutely no other option. For coffee it means, no more iced lattes and I start to warm my own coffee mug with hot water to keep the coffee warmer longer. September and October will be my favorites months of the year. Hope you all enjoy this lovely month!!

秋 a.k.a. Autumn

Temperatures have begun to drop slowly over the last week or so. Some days it's warmer than other but once it gets dark it is all pretty much the same. My mother was visiting from Hawaii from mid-October to mid-November and during that time we went out and about and ate some delicious food and traveled up to Tokyo and also Nagano. Rather than me going on about the experiences I thought that pictures would be more appealing. So here you go, Japanese food and pictures of fall foliage on various occasions:)

Soba in Nagano
Beautiful Nagano
'Kaisen-don' or Seafood bowl with sakura ebi (shrimp) which is famous in a this town in Shizuoka Prefecture

Kamo River, Kyoto
Nanzenji Temple, Kyoto
Ginkakuji, Kyoto

Fall foliage in Kobe
View of Kobe
Monument near Venus bridge which is a place where couples place locks and throw away the key as a symbol of everlasting love

Past years' locks melted to make this

Lazy days and Fashion

The weather, except for yesterday, has been absolutely amazing. Granted, I haven't been out much but this is mostly due to the fact that I enjoy relaxing and spending time in my apartment with its numerous plants, and the glorious amount of light through its many windows. Another reason is that something about fall makes me lazy which really shouldn't happen as that should be done more in the winter when this coastal city gets a bit nippy.

Overall women living in cities in Japan, especially in Kobe, dress up daily. Not just put together an outfit that matches or suits them but they go all out with makeup, heels, tights, accessories etc... This fact has proved to be a double-edged sword for me since I, being born and raised in Hawaii, adore tank tops, shorts/jeans and flip flops aka 'slippahs' and resort to a more simplistic style with a few accessories.But since my time in college was spent in upstate New York where winter temperatures shouldn't even be mentioned, forced me to layer and bundle up always I gained a bit of experience with cold weather wear. Oddly enough, I prefer the cold to hot (especially humid).

However, since living in Japan I have had to deal with bundling up and dressing up. Women here, no matter what time of year, have what seems to be an innate ability to layer in such a beautiful way I can't seem to pull it off like they-maybe being half Japanese gives me only half the ability or sense haha. The one thing that is strange is that people here are both "samugari" and "atsugari"; meaning they are both weak to the cold and to the heat. Generally those around me seem more weak to the cold but winter temps here in Kansai don't even compare to those in upstate New York but people dress up and yes, wear far too much clothes in my opinion for temperatures in the teens and 20s celsius( 50s& 60s Farenheit). I constantly tell myself to toughen up and remember the blistering cold in upstate NY in comparison so that I won't become "samugari". What's annoying is that in the summer you wear little clothes and when you go in stores the AC is freezing and then in the winter you have on a down jacket (or similar) and you go inside and it's far to warm so you end up having to taking extra time to take off and then put on your coat etc...

I started writing not knowing what would come out but I like where this is going. The seasons continuously excite me being born and raised in Hawaii where there's only about two reasons: rainy and not rainy.

So yes, autumn, my favorite season requires me to seek the fall foliage but I get lazy with dressing all cute and layered as seen in magazines or women here but it doesn't look like much will change since my basic style is still simple and comfortable. I will put in the extra effort when I go out but sometimes I don't see the point. I LOVE fashion and really desire to experiment with contrasting styles but like my exercise routine, or lack thereof, I can't seem to continue it beyond a few days.

Will post pictures from my trip next:)

Autumn has arrived

Finally?! My gosh it's almost Thanksgiving. Due to the unbearably hot summer and other various climate causes, the fall foliage didn't begin till this month. Compared to past years when it began in October. Fall is my favorite season and therefore I am enthused. I recently visited Kyoto where viewing the fall colors is quite popular but was a bit disappointed as the leaves had barely started to change or were a less colorful brown.

I returned safely from my vacation about a month ago. My mother arrived on the same day and stayed with me for a month which is why a) I've been traveling a bit domestically and b) why I didn't seem to manage fitting in any blog updates. Sorry:(

My trip to Europe and Asia was amazing. The most autumn-like weather was in Amsterdam which I completely adored. Cute houses, throngs of bicyclists and natural supermarkets. But each city had its splendor so therefore its hard to compare or pick my favorite. Baku was completely new to me but being in Central Asia by the Caspian Sea. The people were friendly and I found it quite easy to adjust. Paris was as lovely as I remember, if not more. I wasn't in Barcelona for as long as I would have liked but what I did see and eat was simply wonderful. Ibiza was refreshing after being in so many cities and the ocean was beautiful. Istanbul was exhilarating with its history and culture. I feel so fortunate to have been able to travel to so many amazing places and meet such great people.

My computer is still the same old so I cannot yet include pictures due to the lack of space and slow speed at which the process will all take. As soon as I can I'll post many pictures.

Summer coming to an end... But

I'm sorry I've been so bad at updating this. Summer is coming to an end. For me, at least here in Japan it's a huge relief because this summer has been the hotttest summer in like the last century or so. So basically the hottest EVER! As far as most people are concerned. It was pretty unbearable at times. But slowing the nights are getting cooler and my favorite season is approaching. Yes, the girl born in Hawaii is in love with fall.

Having gone to college in upstate New York I got my first taste of fall. It was amazing. The leaves of the trees on campus would slowly change and the supermarket would be full of many varieties of apples. I never did get to do a corn maze or go apple-picking (laziness on my part probably) but I enjoyed going to morning classes in the crisp weather and see the fashion students, at least the most stylish ones, would wear. Now that I'm living in Japan fall brings a greater variation of foods to the supermarket. Not only apples and pumpkin but also pears, chestnuts, persimmon, mackerel and other fish. The only thing about fall though is that I'm an island girl so it's always hard to let go of wearing slippers/flip flops. I used to wear them and then just wear a jacket to stay warm. My thing was that until there snow collected on the ground, I wouldn't wear shoes--->I feel a little suffocated in closed toed shoes.

But I'll get over that because women in Japan tend to dress nicely all the time and therefore dressing up in the city here is a lot easier than in a small town in Upstate New York. It's nice to unpack those clothes for the colder seasons and get ready. Part of my early fall will be spent on vacation so that'll add a new twist to things. Some places I'll go will be a little warmer than here, such as Istanbul, and others, like Paris, will resemble more of the weather of my falls in New York. I'm excited either way. A few new places and some re-visited such as Paris(visiting Paris in the fall has been a dream of mine). I'm very anxious. There's still lots to do and I need to start packing because as I've mentioned earlier I'll be in different environments and therefore I need to pack smartly as to avoid overpacking.

No pictures again. I haven't taken too many this summer which is sad. But I will post some of what I do have at another time.
Hope everyone has a lovely summer- and hopefully less hot than mine:P Until my next adventure;)